When medical treatment goes wrong, it can change your entire life – we have helped many people who have been injured by medical negligence claim the compensation they deserve
You may need the financial security which can help bring your independence back, or you may just want answers about what went wrong
Speak to one of our team of specialist solicitors for medical negligence now, and find out how we can help
What is Medical Negligence?
Most medical treatment will be of a high standard, but sometimes mistakes happen. Often you can recover from the harm this causes, but some mistakes can have serious, long-term consequences. Healthcare professionals are expected to perform to a certain standard: if they fail to do this they may be found negligent.
Medical negligence (sometimes called clinical negligence) is used to describe any treatment, lack of treatment, or any other departure from accepted standards of medical care, which causes harm to a patient.
Medical Negligence Compensation
Of course, some things cannot be put right by money. However, compensation can provide the means to begin rebuilding life after injury, both for you and your family.
The law of negligence aims to put you back in the position you were in before the damage occurred. This is done through financial compensation, with ‘damages’ awards calculated to reflect the extent of your loss.
How much you can claim for medical negligence depends on:
The extent of the injuries
The expenses you’ve incurred as a result
How much future care will cost
Examples of medical negligence
Some examples of medical negligence include (but aren’t limited to):
Failure to treat
Delay in treatment
Failure to perform an appropriate follow-up
During a claim, the standard of a medical professional’s care is measured against that of his or her peers. If, when confronted with the same circumstances, ‘a significant body’ of fellow practitioners would have acted in the same way, the doctor or surgeon will not be found negligent.
This is not absolute, though: if a number of alternative methods of treatment were available, even if the treatment used was supported by a body of medical practitioners, a finding of negligence may still result if its use did not stand up to logical analysis.
Making a Medical Negligence Claim
It can be difficult to predict how long a claim will take to reach a conclusion, especially where complex medical and legal issues are involved. Some smaller cases may be settled in a matter of months, whereas others can take several years.
Firstly, you should make a formal complaint to the people you think are responsible. If this is a hospital trust, it is likely that a complaints procedure is in place, but in all cases, complaints can be made in a formal letter explaining the details of your grievance. The response to a complaint can be a useful way of finding out the potential Defendant’s stance on your injury. If you do go on to make a claim, the Court will expect you to have made use of the complaints system.
When you make a claim, you will be referred to as the ‘Claimant.’ The person you are claiming against is the ‘Defendant.’ Before the claim is issued at Court, your solicitor will gather evidence to show to that the Defendant was responsible for your injury. This will include your medical records, witness statements from you and your family, and reports from expert medical witnesses. In the majority of cases, Defendants will prepare their own evidence.
Most medical claims don’t end in a full trial, and it is unlikely that that you will have to give evidence in Court. The legal procedure rules encourage people to resolve claims without going to Court, and the Claimant and the Defendant can offer to settle the claim at any point in the process. The vast majority of claims will conclude like this, usually after some negotiation over the value of the claim.
Time Limits on Medical Negligence Claims
Medical claims must be brought within three years of the date of the negligent act. However, there are exceptions to this rule. In some situations, the time limits are extended: this can apply to injuries to children or those without mental capacity, and injuries of which the victim was not aware until later.
To avoid running into problems with time limits, it is advisable to approach a solicitor as early as possible.
Funding Your Medical Negligence Claim
There are a number of different funding options available, including Conditional Fee Agreements (formerly known as ‘no-win, no-fee’) and, in some cases, Legal Aid. You can read more about funding a clinical negligence claim here.
Inquests and Inquiries
Where someone has died in unusual or suspicious circumstances, the death may be reported to the coroner for further investigation. An inquest or inquiry is a process that seeks to establish the factual circumstances surrounding the death. These findings can be used as evidence in a clinical negligence claim.
At Enable Law, we speak with dozens of people who have put their faith in the system, and suffered as a result. Medical mistakes occur for many reasons, from simple human errors to the arrogance of those who are not willing to listen to the advice of their peers and co-workers. What unifies them is the cost on the lives of the patients who have been affected.
If you have been injured by medical negligence, you might need to consider a claim for many reasons.
Our team of experienced medical negligence solicitors are here to help you claim vital medical compensation, no matter the reason. We will work with you to establish the circumstances of the negligence, and will always be upfront about the chances of your claim being successful.
Call our team now on 0800 044 8488 for free, confidential medical negligence advice about your claim.
I am a clinical negligence lawyer specialising in high value clinical negligence claims. I have developed an expertise in actions involving general practitioner and hospital negligence and have a special...
I have extensive knowledge of group actions and compensation claims for adults with learning disabilities and specialise in handling cases involving adults with learning disabilities who have been abused in...
I specialise in claims involving birth injuries resulting in stillbirth, neonatal death and serious disability, and I have expertise in secondary victim claims resulting from psychiatric injuries as a result...